Bill Whelan has worked extensively in theatre and film. He was appointed composer to the W.B. Yeats International Theatre Festival at Ireland's national Abbey Theatre in 1989, writing original music for 15 Yeats plays. His adaptation of HMS Pinafore received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. His compositional work in film includes original scores for ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ starring Meryl Streep, ‘Some Mother's Son’ starring Helen Mirren and ‘Lamb’ starring Liam Neeson. Music for television includes ‘The Seven Ages’, Sean Ó Mordha's history of the Irish State. ‘The Seville Suite’ was his first large scale orchestral work, commissioned for Ireland's National Day at Expo '92 in Seville. The Spirit of Mayo followed in 1993. He recently completed a trilogy of pieces for chamber orchestra: ‘Inishlacken’, which has been performed in Europe and the USA, ‘Carna’, which premiered in Carnegie Hall in March 2005 and ‘Errisbeg’, which received its world premiere in December 2005. All three works are included on Bill Whelan's latest CD, ‘The Connemara Suite’, which was released in December 2007.
His many production and arranging credits include U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, Richard Harris and Planxty. He has written and recorded a new composition with the classical violinist Vanessa-Mae, and is currently writing a new theatre work which has been commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center.
Bill Whelan was honoured with the 1997 Grammy Award for 'Best Musical Show Album' for his Riverdance CD. The album is a certified Platinum record in the USA, Ireland and Australia. He holds two Honorary Doctorates and has just been awarded a fellowship by the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He is a member of the Boards of Berklee School of Music in Boston, The University of Limerick, and the Irish contemporary music group, Crash Ensemble.